Women's version: Baby Norah arrived yesterday morning. All along my guess was for her to be born between the 10th and the 15th but the three days of the 10th and beyond were so hard for me mentally. I had things planned for the 13th and 14th just in case but I went to bed on the 12th thinking this might be it. Then I woke up at around 4:30 and said to myself "you are in labor" except I hadn't had a contraction or anything to tell me that (unless one woke me up without my realizing that was what did it). It seemed weird to wake Craig up based on instinct. So I waited. And a few minutes later I had one, not horrible but much stronger than the previous weeks. I still felt weird waking him up so I waited about 10 minutes and once I had a second, I woke him up. Then I wandered aimlessly around the house not knowing what to do but really anxious to do it. After a third, he called our midwife to tell her I thought I was in labor but they weren't as intense or close together as I normally start with so I was unsure. I really have no idea what she told him, I never asked. But after that, they started coming more quickly so a little while later, he called her back and I guess she started on her way then.
I always see these different laboring positions like standing or leaning over a counter but for me, I've got one option. Laying down one my side, breathing through them. If I'm ever in a different position when one starts for some reason, its agony. That's been the case all three times. But this labor was also different in that I needed Craig a lot more. I really wanted him around for Lucy's birth but I didn't want him talking or touching me during a contraction. And he was obviously very important in Jonah's delivery but not as much as a support for me as for a baby catcher. But this time I needed him to be rubbing my back or touching me so I knew he was there. The few times he had to step away I really wanted him back. It's funny to me what things stay the same and what things change each time. Another thing that doesn't change is how protective the cat seems to be of me. She stayed right there even when all the midwives were first coming in and getting things ready. Even now, she's at the foot of the bed. Our little guard cat.
So by the time the midwives (I had two midwives and a student midwife here this time) started arriving I think they were 5-7 minutes apart but not very consistent. They would ask me how I was and I could do was complain about waiting in between the contractions and I think they tried not to laugh because, waiting between contractions is pretty normal, just not what I was used to. But I just wanted to move on to the pushing part and felt like it was taking forever - in reality, it really wasn't.
Lucy woke up around 6am I think but didn't want to leave so she stayed in bed talking to herself for a while. Once Jonah was up, Craig fed them and tried to hustle them out the door to Neighbor J's. I didn't mind them being around at first but as things got more intense, I needed them to be gone. Jonah was still half asleep, cranky and overwhelmed so I actually got out of bed to help Craig put clothes on him. I'm not sure if that was the best idea but I knew that they were slowing me down and I wanted to get things moving. Once they were gone, the midwives were all here and done prepping so they just hung out the in living room quietly while Craig helped me, only checking on me and baby every once in a while but there if I needed them. That's what I seem to like. And the calm and quiet helped me a lot, things got more intense but I felt like I was handling it okay as long as I didn't think about timing. They must have come in around 8am because I promised myself I wouldn't ask the time but I did then.
I had tried to prepare myself for a longer birth the past month or so because I didn't want to get discouraged and even thought it had only been 3.5 hours, this was the first time I had gone so long in labor before transitioning. I didn't have too many classic transition symptoms but I did start shaking a little while after that and I remember telling myself I'd probably have a baby by 9am.
I was still wondering when transition would start when all of a sudden the midwives came in and starting getting things ready for me to push. Honestly, I was a bit confused. Was I that far along? Then I realized, yes I was. The contractions had spaced out considerably. But again, I didn't feel the urge to push yet. I absolutely hated pushing without the urge with Lucy. I just felt lost and started to panic. We waited a bit, she checked me (the first time in the entire pregnancy) and said I didn't have a lip so whenever I wanted to, or didn't want to, they'd just wait on me. I pushed a bit then tried waiting I couldn't find a comfortable position and I wanted to be done but frankly, pushing hurt so that seemed like a bad idea too. Eventually, I had to have a little pep talk with myself. No really. I just told myself the only way out was through so I started pushing. After 2-3 pushes, I could really feel the baby descend and the instinct took over.
My one prayer with Jonah's birth is that I would feel the urge to push - and that certainly happened. My one prayer this time was that I wouldn't tear so I really wanted to try and breathe and relax through the end instead of just getting it over with and paying the price for it with stitches. And the midwives really helped me do that this time but it still wasn't too long before the water broke (first time on it's own, the first two needed breaking by midwife/Craig) and the head was out. At this point I thought I was almost done but I guess she had a bit of a sticky shoulder so all of a sudden I had some help and was moved about but they got the rest of her out too at 8:53 am. I had said before 9am and I guess I meant before 9am! So while it was my longest first stage labor, 4.5 hrs total is still pretty fast I guess.
I was on my hands and knees and they didn't immediately hand her up but after 30 seconds to a minute (timing is hard) they told me she was fine but just need a bit of help clearing out some fluid. Once I got her she was starting to pink up but still a bit raspy so she hung out on me with some oxygen for a bit while I bragged about how I was now three for three with knowing/guessing the gender. Eventually she nursed and I cut the cord. Yep, me! Craig never wants to and I hadn't thought about it but they offered and I thought, well, why not? Since they wanted to hang out with her a bit longer than normal I think, we just took our time getting things cleaned up and everyone checked. They first checked me and not only no stitches but no tears at all. I can already tell that recovery is going to be a lot easier this time around. And Craig's big prayer was that he wouldn't have to do it alone this time so we both got our prayers answered! By 11 am, we finally got around to measuring her - 8lbs, 7 ounces. Our biggest baby by 7 ounces! I was totally surprised by that.
Eventually everyone left and Craig brought the kids down to meet her. Lucy's first reaction was "she's so much littler than I expected!" and Jonah just started a bit confused then told me her name was Norah because Daddy told him before running off to play. He's having a bit of a rough time adjusting to daddy over mommy although he knows the rule is "Miss Alison said momma has to stay in bed" and following it but that doesn't mean he has to like it.
But by the end of the day, he was smitten too. He likes to touch her head with one finger or kiss her cheeks. And keeps saying "I'm the middle now! I'm the middle!" (in an excited way!). Lucy loves everything about having a sister. Norah was hardly awake in their presence yesterday (just all night when I was ready to sleep :-) but this morning they got so excited that they could see her eyes! And she kept turning her head towards them while they were playing and they starting shouting "it's because she recognized our voices, she knows us!" But she doesn't seem all phased by their loudness or Jonah's tantrums. For now, she just sleeps right through them even if they are only a few feet away. All in all, I think she's gonna fit in just fine around here.